Food not lawns continues

We finally made good on planting up some new figs. This will help give us more fruit consistently in the coming years as they grow as discussed in a previous article about staggering harvest times with your perennial plantings.

I still need to finish up with some nice mulch and a decent ring around them. I found that the previous homeowner left the remnants of a plastic garden border buried. That is the thing sticking up between the figs in the picture. I planted the larger Brown Turkey in the corner to fill that area of the yard, leaving about 6′ of space between the fence. I plan to keep both trimmed to around a max height of 8′.

Yeah, they really are twigs at this point, but they arrived well packed from Isons Nursery.
Close up with the Celeste

We also did some harvesting over the last few weeks.

A little SNH’er with a great flat dutch cabbage!
More carrots from the regen bed. Very happy with how this bed is being reconditioned from the nitrogen poor soil it was growing in. Beans will be filling this bed next.
I started to keep track of the value the garden is bringing this year. $18. That more than covers the cost of the seeds planted for those harvests.

Get Growing!

Mr. SNH.

Inflation…Offset it with a garden!

I worked a good bit in the garden today and had to share some of the pics. Our winter veggies are starting to get too hot. The lettuce is bolting, the last of the turnips were given to a neighbor and I pulled some of the old Tabasco and Jalapeno’s that didn’t make it through the short freeze.

The good news is that I have been planting lots and lots. Tomatoes, peppers, seminole pumpkins, eggplants, cucumbers, some old cantaloupe seeds and watermelon.

The blueberries are on their second year of growth. I bought them as twigs and most are now about 2′ high. Next year will be the year for getting berries off of them. They take so long to get into production, but well worth the wait.

Lastly, I put in 2 peach trees as bare roots making good on my plan for citrus, peaches and figs to extend the fruit harvest over different periods. The peaches are actually flowering and now have a good set of leaves. I was a bit worried as I bought them from TyTy in Georgia which has some mixed reviews. In this case, I would give them a thumbs up. They came well packed and are so far fairly healthy.

I’ll end with this thought: in Florida you need to have a plan to battle the sugar sand. It seems like it is just swallowing everything that we put into it. I am making more of an effort with mulching in the walkways to get some humus underneath. I’ll rotate the humus into the gardens when it is broken down a bit. I also want to experiment a bit with biochar as a way to re-charge the sand and store nutrients like a battery. When folks in the neighborhood trim trees, I’ll collect some of the wood and start the biochar project. Sound like a good thing for a late summer night. I have been excited to see the work from David the Good and have taken a good bit to his teachings. They are practical and centered on food production.

Tomatoes Started: Roma, Sweetie, Pink Brandywine, Green Zebra and few Brads Atomic Grape. I still have a few varieties to start, but this is nice. Below is a seed tray with purple bells, California Wonder Bells, Early Jalapenos and jimmy nardello peppers. We are just getting to a 60/70 degree daytime temp, so this is about the right time to start them outdoors.
Planted a row of red potatoes. I hope to see between 5 and 10 lbs from this planting.
Yes, we have raspberries. I really didn’t give it much of a chance, but here it is. Our blackberries are also producing! The oak leave much is also below to help feed the plants and create some life below the soil. Sure is sandy down there.
My yellow wax beans popped up! The real reason for this planting is to get some nitrogen fixing into this soil. This is the bed where the old shed used to be.
Yep, the girls are laying again. 3 a day, and soon to be 5. If you need some eggs and live in the brevard county area, I am open to a weekly drop at $5/dozen since we cant eat that many.
Romaine Lettuce is beautiful and going to seed. We could not eat enough of it. I am working to find a balance between how much we should plant for each type of crop for maximum use. More beans, sweet potatoes, carrots. Less in lettuce category.

A hodge podge post

Hello SNH’ers, the family has been busy this December. A few things to note: the garden is producing well for our winter items. Lots of lettuce, pickling cucumbers and pak choi are coming in. I also have a good amount of collards, mustard and some swiss chard growing.

We got to bake some really tasty things, like some great gluten free peanut butter cookies and a peach upside down cake.

On the investment side, I am still seeing lots of inflationary effects and have diversified the portfolio to include some income producers like JEPI, QYLD and some stabilizers like SCHD. We are seeing slower growth rates in both the 401k and Roth accounts, typical of the political and business climate right now. I am working to weed out the portfolio from items that haven’t performed and don’t maintain the same outlook when the initial positions were taken.

The winter brought some awful service issues to our home. First, we had to replace a septic pump, then an air conditioning issue hit us up. Lastly, we had to repair an alternator. That really has wiped out a few months of savings, so our new year will see us get back into the black.

Here are some nice things to look at from the last quarter:

Winter pickling, great harvest on a whim planting them in October.
Red potatoes dug 12/29, going into the chicken soup tonight
Some great baby Pak Choi that came out of the lettuce bed
We’ll just see what ‘turnip’ in the garden today
A little SNH’er filling her bucket with purple hull black eyed peas
Mrs. SNH out petting the cows at our local orange upick orchard.
Yes, a handwritten recipe for a great peach upside-down cake
We ate the whole thing that night.

Lastly, I have really been enjoying watching David the Good on youtube. I encourage you to check out his videos. They can bring a dose of practicality to an otherwise crazed gardening world.

Have a great afternoon. Mr. SNH.

Chicken coup nearly ready

I spent the weekend building the chicken coup. The ladies are getting too big and need to have some room to roam. Vertical beams are sunken to 18″ with a concrete footer. The max height is 6’6″, but tapers to 6’3″ at the rear. I planned on originally roofing the top, but now think we will just put wire on it for now. If it rains, they will have access to the inside of the shed. This will also help keep the structure around during a hurricane. If I put a roof on it, it might just sail away.

I did not get as far as I wanted to since it is V-day weekend and Mrs. SNH’s birthday weekend. This is always a very busy time of year.

I found out just how un-even my ground was. My level became my best friend on this build. Still need to finish up with hardware cloth, a door to the inside of the shed and frame off a section in the shed for the 4 ladies.
The green beans were found reaching for the sun this morning. Glad to see they are starting to take off.
The peas have decided to start climbing as well.

The house is great, but we didn’t know there was a fencing problem!

Ok, sorry, had to borrow that from that insurance brand. Really, once we got rid of the tree, we were able to install a fence and keep Cocoa the wonderdog out. She supervised the construction of the fence. The garden area is shaping up for some planting this year.

Yes, a fencing problem
gravel 2.5′ down in a whole, cement from 2′ to 6″ deep, 8 posts installed.
There was a 40 foot tree in the center of that view previously.
progress pic, oh, and I picked up some wood for a 8×4 garden bed as well.
4′ opening for the yard tools and wheel barrows.
Uhh, nevermind that unfinished gate, you didn’t see that.
Blackberry trellis installed with a plant that was barely a twig and has overwintered.
And yes, as I promised. A winter tomato picked by the youngest SNH’er. It was delicious.

A couple of things are happening in the garden and the home!

Mrs. SNH did a great job of clearing out some of the old homeowner’s plantings around the house. This is making way for us to get the back yard in shape. I was planning to chop down the large Pine in the rear, but decided it would be better to talk to a Professional before I take that one on.

If you are planning to do your own tree removal, please check out a few safety videos on felling trees. There are a lot of things that could go wrong. Better to pay a pro if you are in a tight spot and haven’t done it before.

We got a few of the cool season veggies started in some plant pots. We placed them on the roof of the shed that is still standing. This avoids the rather nosey wonderdog from interrupting the young plants. We started with Broccoli, Snow Peas and Romaine lettuce.

Last night was fun too, we ordered 2 Orange trees from backyardcitrustrees.com. I staggered the variety with a Valencia and Navel to give a slightly different flavor and slightly different harvest time. It will take about 3 years before we see the ‘fruits of our labor’ but well worth the free shipping and anticipation of our fresh citrus. The last little bit to round out our trees for the property will likely be an avocado and peach.

Lastly, we decided to relieve the stress of vacuuming up after the cats and dog. We purchased a Shark Robotic Vacuum and put it to work. We named her Mrs. Patmore after the cook in Downton Abbey. I know, pretty unimpressive if you already have one of these doing the chores for you, but it truly is a time saver allowing you to do more productive things.

Ahh, the peace of automation

December Garden Activities and a few smart tips.

Good Afternoon SNH’ers. The little SNH’ers are looking forward to Santa Clause making a visit and I am out prepping parts of the garden. Here are the highlights:

* Hose system is partially extended to the garden area. I’ll be finished with the extension tomorrow. I cant wait to actually have water on the other side of the house.

* The Lemon/Lime combo tree is planted in the ground about 10 feet outside of the edge of the house. This should give enough room when it is full size.

* I’ll be cementing the first permanent post of the fence system tomorrow. I also fixed a hole in the fence where our pug friend was popping in to visit Cocoa the wonderdog. While our pug friend is nice, he should stay in his own yard.

* The banana tree has been trimmed of a few of its dying leaves which pulled down our ISP cable into the house.

Other smart tips for December:

Get your investments in order before the end of the year in case you need to make plans for filing taxes.

Re-evaluate your portfolio’s and talk with your financial advisor about the upcoming year.

Don’t leave your iPhone on the hood of your car. Apparently when you drive, they fall off! Who knew. Mrs. SNH wont be doing that one again!

Fall wherever you are…

I do love the fall and miss the days when I could go to the local park in Oregon and grab a nice harvest of apples and walnuts for free. I would then fill the house with the cinnamon infused scent of cockpot apple butter and enjoy a great treat after it had cooked down to a jelly like spread. Here are a few pictures from those fall Oregon days.

This was Mrs. SNH’s favorite local coffee shop! Go Dutch Brothers!

Meanwhile in the present, this rainy Florida Saturday yielded a surprise when I went to check on the plants. I cannot believe it is near Thanksgiving and there are still tomatoes producing in one of my garden bins. We kept one of the roma plants when we moved to the new house. It has continued to grow. The Florida weather has held up and the plant now has about 5 tomatoes on it. It would be great to harvest them before Christmas! Other plants that seem to keep on ticking are kale, blackberries (which were once just a small twig) and the Seminole pumpkin which is now about 8 feet long with several flowers on it.

I also have a Moringa tree that we cut down when we first moved in. It is back to a height of about 10’. We cannot kill it! Moringa is widely hailed as a miracle tree for its edible leaves. We may just decide to manage it and if you are a local and want a cutting for your own yard, feel free to contact me. I will gladly propagate for you. Here is a picture after we cut it down in August. I’ll try to get a pic up this weekend of how it has grown.

Lastly, I wanted to report that the first shed is fully removed so we can start building our raised beds for the spring season on this portion of the yard. Cocoa the wonderdog has to be fenced off first, so that project will take me through December to properly section off the yard. I did manage to put up part of field fence during a lunch break, but it cannot compete with the size that we now have available. I will solidify the sketchy back fence by using some 4×4’s with a concrete footer and extend a 4′ high section to where the field fencing is now (just in front of the Moringa tree shown in the picture above. I am still debating about how I would like the gate. I think a nice arbor would make a great entrance. Maybe my ambitions are bigger that my capacity.